, Salem, MA

Local News

October 18, 2011

NSCC's building is a model of sustainability

DANVERS — The building has solar panels that some say look like Imperial destroyers from "Star Wars."

There is a lush, green roof of plants designed to increase insulation and filter rainwater for use in toilets.

Five hundred feet down under the parking lot sit 60 geothermal wells, 2 feet in diameter, part of the energy-efficient heating and cooling system.

And, in every room, there are sensors to tell computers to shut the lights off when enough natural light pours in.

North Shore Community College has put an emphasis on being green and sustainable in its classrooms, and with the grand opening on the Danvers campus of the new, $31 million Health Professions & Student Services Building, the college's president can say the institution practices what it preaches.

"There should be no daylight between the values we espouse and the values we practice," Wayne Burton said during a tour of the building just before a grand-opening ceremony yesterday afternoon. Burton has long championed the idea of making college campuses more sustainable.

The building completes the three-building campus in Danvers, save for a garage to expand parking. It also serves to put all of the school's allied health programs under one roof. The building also has a new center where students can register for courses and seek out academic support.

Yesterday, state and local officials got their first glimpse at the three-floor, 58,000-square-foot building that is designed to generate more energy than it consumes. It's the state's first "Zero Net Energy" building, a pilot project that could someday act as a model for future state building, Burton said. It will be January before the building is fully operational.

The tour not only highlighted the numerous sustainable touches, like bottle-filling stations at water fountains, it showed off high-tech labs for health students.

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